D193 - Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from salvation
In Luke 24:49, Jesus left a specific instruction to his disciples,
‘And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.’
In other words, wait in Jerusalem and don’t rush out straightaway. In fact, Acts 1:4 repeated the same instruction.
In John 20:22, Jesus breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ Effectively, the disciples already had the Holy Spirit but yet they were told to wait.
Then, the Day of Pentecost arrived and
‘suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves ….’ (Acts 2:1-4).
What were they waiting for?
It was for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It was to receive ‘the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:38).
Yet again, in Acts 8:16, we knew these were quite new believers as they had just been ‘baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus’. But as Peter and John laid hands on them, these believers had a visible sign of receiving the Holy Spirit so much so that a magician, Simon, offered them money for this gift of the Holy Spirit. Here, we see baptism with the Holy Spirit as a separate experience from salvation.
Next, in Acts 10:44-46, even as Peter was sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to Cornelius and his household, the Holy Spirit fell on these new Gentile believers so much so that Peter was amazed,
‘because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.’
In this case, the baptism with the Holy Spirit was at or close to conversion.
Finally, in Acts 19:1-6, we witnessed the experience of twelve disciples of John the Baptist who were baptized once more after hearing the good news from Paul but this time in the name of our Lord Jesus. Then, Paul laid hands on them and
‘the Holy Spirit came on them and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying’ (Acts 19:6).
Based on the experience of early Christians in the Book of Acts, the baptism with the Holy Spirit is shown to be a separate experience from salvation,
D194 - Speaking in tongues is the sign for the baptism with the Holy Spirit
In Acts 2:6, on the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell on these disciples, they were all speaking in tongues so that those Hellenistic Jews (Jews who were living in foreign land outside of the nation of Judea) who were there could ‘hear their own languages being spoken.’ These disciples were speaking in different languages.
The same was true of Cornelius’ household. When Peter had shared the gospel and Jesus, he witnessed that these new Gentile believers were also given the ‘gift of the Holy Spirit’ for ‘they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God’ – (Acts 10:45-46).
As seen from the Book of Acts, the sign (gift) of the baptism with the Holy Spirit seems to be that of ‘tongues’.
Here is a key and it is found in the writing of the Apostle Paul to the Church of Corinth.
1 Cor 12:8-10 tells us the various gifts of the Spirit as follows:
For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
But if we drill it down further, we will discover something intriguing and it lies in the word, ‘another’.
Two Greek words are used in 1 Cor 12:8-10 to describe ‘another’ – Heteros and Allos.
- Heteros is used for both faith and various kinds of tongues while
- Allos is used for all the rest.
Allos means ‘another of the same kind’ while Heteros means ‘another of a different kind’, that is, it is ‘qualitatively different from its counterpart.’
It implies that these elements of ‘faith’ and ‘tongues’ mentioned here are of a ‘different kind’, that is, these refer to ‘supernatural faith’ and ‘supernatural tongues’.
If that is the case, then it makes sense as to why heteros was the word used to describe ‘various kinds of tongues’ in 1 Cor 12:10
Please also see B15 – Be filled (baptized) with the Holy Spirit.
D195 - After salvation, a believer ought to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit
In Matt 4:1, in the temptation of Jesus, it says that
‘Jesus was led up by the Spirit.’
So it was the same with Simeon, a righteous and devout man, who was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the baby Jesus. In Luke 2:27, it said that ‘the Spirit led him to the Temple’, just when Mary and Joseph were there to present the baby Jesus to the Lord.
The Book of Acts is full of incidents on the various leading of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 8:29, Philip was supernaturally led by the Holy Spirit to meet the Ethiopian eunuch, a senior court official, who was reading Isaiah.
Then, there was the case of the mission work involving Barnabas and Paul as seen in Acts 13:2 when the Holy Spirit spoke to the church of Antioch to set them apart for his work. During that time, the Holy Spirit directed them to go to certain places while preventing them from going to others (Acts 16:6-7; Acts 20:22).
After salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a believer ought to be sensitive to the leading hands of the Holy Spirit.
Rom 8:9 says,
‘You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.’
See also B11 to B14 – Relationship with the Holy Spirit and especially B13 – Do not quench (suppress/ grieve) the Holy Spirit.
D196 - Water baptism is a symbolic demonstration of a believer's commitment to Christ
Scripture does not make it mandatory that all must be baptized in order to enter the kingdom of God but Scripture implies that it is a natural progression for believers in their walk with the Lord.
In fact, in many countries, baptism is seen as the ultimate confession of a person to be a Christian by many cultures, and especially so if the person is a first-generation Christian.
In the Book of Acts, in his first evangelistic message, Peter asked of his audience to ‘repent and be baptized’ (Acts 2:38).
In Matt 28:19, the Lord said,
‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, BAPTIZING THEM in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’
Even Jesus did the same although he was baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 3:21).
A point to note is that baptism in water is only for believers. In Acts 8:37, Philip laid down the prerequisite for baptism as
‘If you believe with all your heart, you may (be baptized).’
D197 - Immersion is the implied method for water baptism
In John 3:23, Scripture made it clear that John was baptizing at Aenon because
‘water was plentiful there.’
John the Baptist was baptizing people at the river.
‘they both went down into the water’ followed by ‘they came up out of the water.’
If it was a matter of water sprinkling, then it could have been carried out using the water bottle of the Ethiopian official?